Meet the man behind the Whataburger sneakers

On Monday, we wrote about Dank Customs’ Whataburger-themed Nike Dunk Lows. Pictures of the shoes went viral after the fast food chain tweeted about them in October, and they resurfaced on Reddit this week.

Photo: Dank Customs
Photo: Dank Customs

The artist behind the shoes, Jacob Danklefs, is based in San Antonio. His website says that he will not duplicate any kicks he’s created for another customer. So yes, Whataburger fans, you’re out of luck. But Danklefs told the American-Statesman in an email that the shoes’ Internet notoriety has helped his bottom line, in case you were wondering.

“I did see increased business after the tweet,” Danklefs said, including potential business from Whataburger themselves. “I did get an email from Whataburger’s VP and I have had a few meetings with him in regards to getting my services involved in their marketing.”

While any Texan would stick up for the ol’ orange and white, Danklefs said that the best reactions he saw tried to start a fast food beef.

“I think the best reactions were the people that saw it that claim In-n-Out is better,” Danklefs said.

Danklefs, who said he’s done some work for the San Antonio Spurs, does not have any other Texas-themed shoes in the works. But we think a Buc-Ee’s-themed Nike could be fresh as heck. Readers, any Lone Star icons you want to see immortalized in sneaker form?

The ‘Friday Night Lights’ 10-year reunion is happening in Austin

You can keep your Denver Broncos, and your Carolina Panthers, now that you mention it. The only Panthers we care about are from Dillon. And they’re coming to Austin.

Pictured: (l-r) Gaius Charles as Brian "Smash" Williams, Connie Britton as Tami Taylor, Jesse Plemons as Landry Clarke, Adrianne Palicki as Tyra Collette, Kyle Chandler as Eric Taylor, Aimee Teegarden as Julie Taylor, Zach Gilford as Matt Saracen, Minka Kelly as Lyla Garrity, Scott Porter as Jason Street, Taylor Kitsch as Tim Riggins. (NBC Photo: Mitchell Haaseth)
Pictured: (l-r) Gaius Charles as Brian “Smash” Williams, Connie Britton as Tami Taylor, Jesse Plemons as Landry Clarke, Adrianne Palicki as Tyra Collette, Kyle Chandler as Eric Taylor, Aimee Teegarden as Julie Taylor, Zach Gilford as Matt Saracen, Minka Kelly as Lyla Garrity, Scott Porter as Jason Street, Taylor Kitsch as Tim Riggins. (NBC Photo: Mitchell Haaseth)

Entertainment Weekly reports that the cast of “Friday Night Lights” will gather for ATX Television Festival this year. According to EW:

“The ‘FNL’ reunion comes 10 years after the show’s NBC premiere (and five years after the acclaimed drama ended) and includes a ‘Panther Field’ meetup with a pep rally, live music, tailgating activities, and photo ops. Participants will be announced at a later date. “

As long as Connie Britton’s hair is there, we’re happy. To tide you over until the lineup reveal, remember that time the Statesman talked to Tim Riggins himself (aka actor Taylor Kitsch) in December.

Whataburger-themed Nike sneakers are the tastiest kicks ever

We know Texans love Whataburger, but a custom pair of orange-and-white sneakers might be the ultimate expression of affection. These shoes are made for eating.

Photo: Dank Customs

San Antonio-based Dank Customs‘ Whataburger-themed Nike Dunk Lows went viral after the megapopular fast food chain tweeted about them in October. It’s an oldie, but this goodie resurfaced on Reddit’s Texas subreddit Sunday. The kicks’ designer, Jake Danklefs, is known for eye-popping custom creations, more examples of which can be seen on his Instagram. In other words, you’re not likely to see these tasty shoes at Finish Line any time soon.

In other Whatanews, a Tyler location of the restaurant honored the memory of a 94-year-old regular who had recently died with a marquee tribute. The chain, which celebrated 65 years of burger flipping last year, also has a friend in former Texas senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, the Statesman recently learned.

Austin drag queen to compete on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

For seven seasons, drag queen/household name RuPaul has asked a different crew of female impersonators to lipsync for their lives on Logo’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Soon, Austin will finally have its own fierce queen to root for.

(Photo courtesy of Logo)
(Photo courtesy of Logo)

Cynthia Lee Fontaine, a regular performer at Austin bar Oilcan Harry’s, has been cast as one of twelve queens competing for the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar” in the show’s eighth season. The cast was revealed Monday after a weeklong social media scavenger hunt.

Fontaine’s Facebook profile says the performer has been doing drag since 2007. Also, the drag queen’s Instagram profile contains several Austin-related gems, like a picture at the Texas Capitol:

And then there was that one time Fontaine appeared in the pages of the American-Statesman:

Watch Fontaine’s video introduction below:

The show’s season premiere will air March 7 at 8 p.m. with a special 90-minute episode. Contestants are competing for a $100,000 prize.

(Photo courtesy of Logo)
(Photo courtesy of Logo)


Did Rob Kardashian drive to Austin to pick up Blac Chyna?

Love is a many-splendored thing, full of Bentleys and Instagram posts and airport arrests. That’s the lesson from this weekend, anyway, as reported that Rob Kardashian came to Blac Chyna’s aid following her arrest in Austin.

(Photos: Travis County; Instagram)
(Photos: Travis County; Instagram: @blacchyna)

According to the gossip site, Kardashian drove from Los Angeles to the Live Music Capital to pick up Chyna after her release from Travis County Jail on Saturday, citing unnamed “Kardashian sources.” He made the 1,377-mile journey in 26 hours, the sources said, also pointing to a post-release Snapchat post from Chyna featuring Kardashian’s Bentley. For her part, Chyna seemed to be happy to head home on the highway.

Kardashian, the brother of the other ones, and Chyna, a model also embroiled in the reality TV family’s drama by way of BFF and former Kanye West flame Amber Rose, have been romantically linked after some recent (and cryptic) social media missives. A photo of a tattooed arm on Chyna’s feed (belonging to Kardashian, if the Internet’s team of Nancy Drews is to be trusted) kicked the hubbub off. His Instagram, meanwhile, has been rife with pictures of Chyna, including one shot that definitely seems like a jab at his famous family:

Of course, it’s not too big of a deal for a boyfriend to drive long distances to pick up his girlfriend after a stint in jail. Why the Internet has sunk its teeth into this story like a breakfast taco is the backstory, steeped in years of celebrity scandal that has recently come to a head again with West, Rose and rapper Wiz Khalifa’s Twitter war.  Add Kardashian’s rock relationship with his sisters to the mix, and you’ve got a tabloid epic for the ages.

Happy birthday, Austin resident Elijah Wood!

Unto us, in 1981, a hobbit was born.

While it may not be entirely fair to typecast actor Elijah Wood like that, the fact remains that the “Lord of the Rings” star and Austin homeowner turns 35 on Thursday. We know, we couldn’t believe it’s been that long, either. We remember seeing trailers for “North.”

Elijah Wood at the Stephen F. Austin hotel on Sunday, March 13, 2005. (Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman)
Elijah Wood at the Stephen F. Austin hotel on Sunday, March 13, 2005. (Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman)

In celebration of the erstwhile “Happy Feet” penguin, we dug through our archives for a little Elijah love on this most auspicious of days.

• In 2013, the “Wilfred” star bought a Victorian-style mansion in South Austin for $1 million. It’s around Bouldin Creek Cafe. Can’t miss it.

• He’s been spotted around town at local hotspots, including South Congress, Whole Foods and Sixth Street’s Easy Tiger bakery and beer garden. According to a 2013 story, he also has worked regularly with Rooster Teeth.

• Before he called it home, Wood came to Austin to work on “The Faculty,” a 1998 movie from hometown hero Robert Rodriguez about a group of students who suspect that their schoolteachers are actually aliens. At the time, American-Statesman film critic Chris Garcia only mentioned Wood in his review of the film by way of a comparison to “The Breakfast Club”: “We’re witness to the parade of pubescent archetypes — gloomy outcast, jock, rebel studmuffin, new girl and hopeless nerd — recast as air-brushed, Fox-ready cuties,” Garcia wrote. “Elijah Wood takes the Anthony Michael Hall role, Clea DuVall is Ally Sheedy, Josh Hartnett becomes Judd Nelson, and so on. The nubile cast is surprisingly strong.”

• The American-Statesman also talked to Wood about his love of Fantastic Fest and return to Austin in 2014.

“I started coming back to Austin, initially because of South by Southwest, and my brother lived there for five years,” Wood said. “It always felt like home. … And I felt for a long time that I should live there, so I just decided to buy a home.”

Happy birthday, Elijah. We thought you were great in “Sin City.”

And in that one Beastie Boys video.
And in that one Beastie Boys video.

Austin’s cutest couple contest 2016: A poem

Pam and Chris LeBlanc smooch at the Puppy Love mural outside Mud Puppies on East Riverside Drive.

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Do you and your sweetie have a love so true?

If you both live in Austin
and think your love’s the best…
You should enter our cutest couples contest!

If you’re voted the winners,
you and your honey will eat
at one of Austin’s finest restaurants – our treat!

So enter a photo
and tell us your story.
The two of you may bask in a year’s worth of glory.

For those of you Austinites
without a partner in crime,
vote for the couple whose love is sublime.

2016’s cutest couple
is out there somewhere.
It’s time to pick ’em out – love is in the air!


The facts: Enter until Feb. 3, vote until Feb. 10. Please only enter a photo in which you are a part of the couple. The photo with the most votes by Feb. 10 will win a $100 gift card to one of the top restaurants in Austin, according to our restaurant critic, Matthew Odam. See full rules and more at the contest homepage.

5 ways to get ready for the return of ‘The X-Files’

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson return as Fox Mulder and Dana Scully in "The X-Files: Reopened." (Ed Araquel/FOX via AP)
David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson return as Fox Mulder and Dana Scully in “The X-Files: Reopened.” (Ed Araquel/FOX via AP)

The wait is almost over, “X-Files” fans: We’re just two days away from the premiere of the 10th season miniseries “The X-Files: Reopened” (9 p.m. Sunday on Fox), and we’ve got a few ways for you to prepare this weekend:

Find out what’s in store for the six-episode revival. We’ll see the return of several cast favorites, both mythology and standalone episodes, and a post-9/11 update, to name a few. Brush up on what else to expect with this primer from the American-Statesman’s Mary Huber.

Get caught up. It’s too late to binge-watch all nine seasons before Sunday’s premiere, but there’s a shortcut: Find out which episodes to watch and which ones to skip with this guide to essential viewing, which pares the series down from 202 episodes to a, uh, manageable 64 (better get started).

Travel through the series. If spending your entire weekend binge-watching (and not sleeping) is out of the question, check out this interactive map of every “X-Files” location – including episode summaries – instead. The show never made it to Austin, but it did make stops in Houston, Dallas and the fictional town of Cheney, Texas.

See an “X-Files” actor in Austin. Mitch Pileggi, also known as FBI assistant director Walter Skinner, stars in the family drama “Tribes” at the Zach Theatre starting next week. Learn more about the show and how to get tickets here.

Go behind the scenes. Show creator Chris Carter and leads David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are joined by costars and other key players in this preview. Watch below: